Saturday, September 28, 2013

Here is a great example of how to use writing and reading as tools...a great example of the common core. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Teacher: Student-created notebooks improve teaching, learning of science
Elementary-school teacher Jane Fung writes in this blog post about her love of notebooks and how blank paper and a folder can help students start thinking like scientists. Students, she writes, can use their science notebooks to create reference sheets and record their scientific discoveries. Fung writes that she uses students' notebooks to check for students' understanding and evidence of students' growth over time. Teaching Channel/Tchr's Voice blog (9/25)Bookmark and Share

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Here are some September updates - courtesy of Corbett Harrison.

I'll bet just about everyone's back in session now, so two updates for two of our "Start in September" projects:
  • MTotY:  When we announced the "Mentor Text of the Year" program last week, there was a rush at Amazon, at although it looked like they had run out of their stock and store, they seem to be stocked up again.  September's lesson of the month was partly inspired just by the book's cover, and November and December's lessons will cite continued inspiration from this book's big ideas.  This book is about inspiring one's writers to explore expository writing while examining one's own beliefs and experiences.  If you didn't acquire a book yet, there is still plenty of time until November 1, plenty of time to find a copy and read it through for ideas.  I choose the MTotY book each year based on an area I need to personally improve as a teacher, and then I integrate that book's inspiration into many of my own lessons or lesson revisions, which become the "Lessons of the Month" you receive.  This year, I am increasing my strategies with authentic expository writing lessons, and this book is a perfect fit for my style of teaching; join me this year in integrating its ideas into your classroom.  There is still time.
  • "Time Transitions in History" Slides:  We now have an official blog post about my teaching colleague and friend, Sue Gonyou, was inspired to create her first-ever project that she wants to offer online.  Sue is a math and history teacher on our team, and she is dream to teach with.  Tonight, she sends out the first 1/4 of her "Time Transitions in History" set of slides; it will eventually have 365 slides in it.  You have to order a subscription to be included, but there are still a week's worth of free-to-use slides offered at the webpage just below.  If you know a history teacher who might want to try out Sue's slides this week, please e-mail them this website address:
Also, I joined Pinterest in May, and it's where I have decided I will be storing all of my student samples and links to the new lessons this year.  If you also use Pinterest, I invite you to follow me here:
Have a great Sunday, everyone.  And may your Monday at school be inspirational!
--Corbett Harrison
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Here is another update from Corbett and Dena Harrison...including a great free offer of writing slides to use! Enjoy!

Here is an example of the Sacred Writing Time slides

Welcome to all our new members from over the summer.  Can you believe we almost have 25,000 teacher/writer followers at our Ning now?  Let's start the new school year off writing (and right) by celebrating writing in an interesting way!
  • Our writing lesson of the month for September -- Giving Hands and Taking Hands -- is an extension of last year's Presenting Me lesson, which we used to decorate the wall space outside our classrooms.  It's designed to see what your kids can do with interesting vocabulary and the prospect of making a metaphor out of their own hands!
  • Our writer's notebook prompt for September -- Alpha-Genres -- this original lesson, which debuted 3 Septembers back, now has three variations.  My sixth graders do the original Alpha-Genres lesson you find at the online lesson; my seventh graders do a variation called "Alpha Expository Research Topics" and my eighth graders do a variation called "Alpha Tones for Persuasive Writing."  If you think of any other variations for this simple idea, which is designed to give your students an "arsenal" of ideas for planning an idea for writing to start our Writer's Workshop, please feel free to share!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison
P.S.  There are still fifteen days' worth of Sacred Writing Slides available to freely try out to see if your students are inspired by the information they share daily!  Click here to use the set for the next two weeks with your students.
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Following is an update from Corbett and Dena Harrison on some new slides created for social studies to boost higher level thinking by using listening and speaking. Enjoy!!

Dena and I are so proud of our colleague, Sue Gonyou, for motivating herself to create a cool new, Common Core-friendly set of history slides similar to our Sacred Writing Slides.
Sue is bravely offering her first 15 slides for you to use/critique.  She is going to create a whole year's worth of these slides during this school year, and I have helped to convince her that they are worth purchasing.
If you're interested in a new tool for helping them do more writing/thinking/talking about social studies and historical issues, check out the slides Sue has already created.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we are!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison
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